Friday, August 25, 2006

La Nouvelle Peste

The Four Horsemen, by Albrecht DürerLast week I wrote about Islam, especially radical Islam, as a virus within the complex information system that we call Western civilization. There is something about the simplified and dumbed-down Wahhabi version of Islam that is adept at exploiting the weak points in Western culture. Within the prisons and in the underclass, among the intelligentsia of the academy and the apparatchiks of the media: in these places Islamism finds the West’s weak spots and germinates its spores. Where it does not convert, it co-opts, and any immunological defenses against the growth of the organism are thus neutralized.

Such is this pathogenic infection. But what is the pathogen’s host?

In biological systems it can be an individual cell (viruses), an organ (cancer), or the entire organism (bacterial infections). In electronic information systems it can be a single computer or an entire network. In a culture it can be a country, a language group, or an entire civilization. However, all cultural viruses establish themselves via the individual, within what I have called a person’s cultural template, the acquired system which includes all information that is not instinctual — language, mores, customs, religion, etc. A successful pathogenic invader finds the weak point in the template, neutralizes its defenses, and then takes over.

Any ideas that spread successfully within a culture can be viewed through this analogy. They do not have to be pathological; for example, Christianity and the scientific method, just to name two, were systems of ideas which replicated themselves throughout Europe and its colonies, helping to create the modern civilization whose benefits we enjoy.

But a successful meme can just as easily be destructive, and cause damage to the culture and death to millions of people before it kills its host or is stopped by newly-evolved cultural antibodies. Success isn’t determined by the “goodness” of an idea, only by the efficacy of its replication.

And this new Islamic plague has proven to be very successful indeed, not just at replication but at exporting its Third World pathology to locations thousands of miles from its home base. Where did it come from? It didn’t arise ab initio; it must have mutated from previous forms.

Historical Islam, as transmitted by the genotype in the Koran, is an obvious source. But why this sudden new virulence in the last three-quarters of a century?

As I made clear in my post about Hizb ut-Tahrir, modern versions of Islam are recombinant organisms, composites of traditional Islam mixed with the Socialist virus that so plagued the 20th century. These two viruses have exchanged strands of DNA, and the virulence of Islam contains an enhanced and mutated copy of virulent Socialism.

The fierce Salafist and Wahhabi variants of Islam can be followed back through their genetic history. Sayyid Qutb and Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab are relatively recent examples of the violence and intolerance of Islam; yet it seems that the closer a Muslim adheres to the text of the Koran, the more Salafist his behavior becomes. As a template for pathogenic replication, the Koran is a fairly stable source.

If you follow the evolution of the Socialist strand backwards into the 19th century, you will find a point of evolutionary divergence, when Marx’s ideas mutated into two different strains. The first was what might be called Democratic Socialism, a weaker form of the pathogen, one which has lately reached its endgame in the European Union of the 21st century. In its own way it is dangerous and destructive, but mild and slow-acting compared with its violent cousin.

Revolutionary Socialism, on the other hand, proved very adept at replicating and spreading throughout the world. It eventually destroyed the substrate which sustained it, but in the meantime the Socialist plague managed to kill and impoverish untold millions of people.

Karl Marx was a major propagator of the Socialist virus, but how did he catch it?

Marx’s Socialism was itself a mutant form of the Romantic notion that uncorrupted human nature, if allowed to return to its original state, would produce Utopia, a heaven on earth. This meme was able to explode when it was hybridized with science, or I should say, “Science”. Marx’s creed was Scientific Socialism, but it was no more scientific than Scientology is.

By the mid-19th century the deity-free creed of Science had begun to replace God as the explanation for the extant cosmos, and the sound that everyone of intellect heard was a melancholy, long, withdrawing roar as the sea of faith retreated down the naked shingles of the world. This process weakened our cultural immune system so that the Socialist virus was able to spread unchecked through the soft tissue of Western civilization.

And the Romantic notion of the perfectibility of human nature, the virus that gave enlightened folk their glimpse down the road to a secular paradise — where did that meme come from?

Moving further back towards Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his Noble Savage, we stumble over the French Revolution.

The bloody uprising that began in 1789, with its severed heads on pikes, mounds of corpses in the street, screaming mobs beating noblewomen to death in back alleys — sound familiar? This was the primary mutation that birthed the deadly Socialist virus. In a way, the 20th century began in 1789, and Islam is only too happy to continue it into the 21st.

The modern recombinants: Jean-Paul Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Robespierre.

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The West’s cultural immune system has been severely weakened by the corruption of the academic and media élites and their co-optation by the Islamists. Muslim agitprop flows continuously into the media feeds through which most people gain information about the world, distorting the natural responses that would otherwise emerge in the face of our present danger.

We need to form new antigens.

Fortunately, this is already happening, thanks to the internet and other alternative forms of communication, which allow different “narratives” of modernity. The memes of the blogosphere spread rapidly against the politically correct current because they are more congruent with what the average person experiences as the truth.

What can we do to aid this process?

The typical reader of Gates of Vienna is already inoculated, and possesses the cultural antibodies that will help him fend off the invading virus. The trolls and lefties who wander through here have already been infected or compromised by pathological memes, and they will take nothing from our words here that will change their minds.

But there is a large group of people, perhaps the majority, which has neither been inoculated nor infected as yet; these are the folks within whom the new antigens may develop.

The process will only occur at the margin, in subtle ways that may not be immediately obvious. Screaming slogans and name-calling are not effective; these only strengthen the barriers that keep new ideas from spreading. Persuasion is a long and difficult process as long there is no immediate and deadly danger to speed it along.

Last weekend when we were on vacation we stayed with a good friend of ours, a standard old-style liberal. She’s anti-Bush, a Kerry voter, favors the welfare state and abortion — the usual positions — but she’s not a moonbat.

So, when I talked to her, I was careful to avoid the keywords that would raise the barriers that keep out new information. I mentioned Iran and its nukes, and told her about Jamaat ul-Fuqra and its remote compounds in Virginia and other states. We had an interesting discussion.

She listened carefully and without antagonism, but who knows if it made any difference? All I can do is scatter the seeds — some will fall in the thorns and others on rocky ground, but a few will sprout and grow.

That’s really all we can do, unless we’re among the brave men and women who bear arms to defend our country on the front lines of this war.

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The bottom line is that a deadly and destructive virus will inevitably destroy its host, or be destroyed by a host’s newly-evolved defenses.

It’s an open question as to how much death and havoc Islamic virulence will cause before this process runs its course. But the inner logic of the pathogenic system compels such an outcome; we can reassure ourselves with the knowledge that the virus will not be around for long.

    This is not the way of Tao.
    Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long
                  — from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, Chapter 55


Massachusetts Republican said...

The west is not yet able to realize that what the soviets sought may indeed be coming. An end to history, only this will be due to Islam. Islam is the most deadly foe we have ever seen. Political correctness and 1st amendment rights do not apply to Islam. It is as if a sick Buddhist refused medicine because it would harm the infection.

KG said...

Perhaps political correctness is actually the most deadly foe we have ever seen.
Because it inhibits the fight against islam and makes possible the lies and distortions of the media, enables children to leave high school (college in the U.S.?) with no sense of history and therefore no context to place the present fight in.
No pride in Western civilisation's achievements means no motivation to defend them.

ScottSA said...

You have probably already seen , this (poll in Britain) showing a substantial increase in concern over Muslims. But you may not have seen how Islam Online and other Muslim orgs are trying to spin it. Seems to me (I'll flog this again) that the first step to innoculation is to overcome "racismphobia" (the unreasonable fear of being called a racist). We should really make these masters of Islamic propaganda work for a far standing back and lobbing the race grenade is all they have had to do. The army of Dhimmis is quite willing to take it up as a banner and do Muslim's fighting for them while they sit back and strike a victim pose.

ScottSA said...

A word on the attraction to Islam on the part of the left.

If one attends the duality between left and right and draws a line between "idealism" and, for lack of a better term "realism", one notices that the left are generally composed of idealists; but a very special breed of idealists: people who believe in the ability for humanity to achieve Platonic social and by extension individual perfection.

Socialists and communists believe, almost to a man, that humanity's NATURE can fundamentally change, and this change can be brought about by what Marx called the "base". In the case of Marx the base consisted of economic condition; change Man's economic circumstance and Man's NATURE will fundamentally change (see Hegelian dialectic for a better sense of this change).

Not surprisingly, Hitler was of the same mind, except that he approached the problem through a variation of the Nietzschean superman based in racialism. His base may have been different; economics was secondary, if state centric and socialistic; but his aims were much the same as Marx's: to change fundamentally human nature.

Islam too is what Lee Harris calls a "transformative ideology" in that it seeks to transform the individual, or otherwise stated, Man's "Nature", through religion. Other religions attempt this as well, but Islam is a politico-religious transformative ideology, much more so than any other...even medieval Christianity.

But in some ways Islam and socialism are polar opposites, so why the attraction leftists feel for Islam?

I would argue that one reason is a theoretical bancrupcy amongst those on the left...they have seen communism and fascism fail, and by now strongly suspect that socialism is harmful even IF it were sustainable. But they are as yet unable to admit defeat. If the ideological darlings of yesteryear's "New Left" won't transform human Nature, then by God they'll look for something else that does, because to admit defeat is to become a conservative, and with it the realization that human Nature cannot change and that the best we can do is manage it.

For some reason the left sees the inherent fallability of man as some sort of capitulation; time after time I've heard the argument that "we can't just give up", as if to ackowledging that human Nature is flawed will force us to simply decay. The problem of course is that in trying to change human Nature, idealists bring untold suffering on humanity and all for the end we all look sheepish...those of us who survived at least.

And so, I think, it will go forever...half of humanity leading us over a cliff in the guise of a garden path and the other half trying to keep us alive, if flawed.

Alexis said...

I am coming to the realization that many political demonstrations aren't about expressing a point of view, but instead they are a symbolic form of bullying to intimidate others from using the public square. The fact is, leftist agitators (and their fascist counterparts) have been very adept at monopolizing the public square through mass demonstrations.

Sadly, the relentless pressure of a minority of demonstrators can shift the slant of the news media, to the extent that public opinion will over time reflect the opinions of those who "control the streets". Leftists and their Islamist allies control the streets; they even control the streets in rural America. Even where there is real resolve to defeat the Islamofascists, it feels like a minority opinion even where it is actually in the majority. That is what the Left's "control of the streets" means.

People often forget that the majority of demonstrations and riots during the Civil Rights Era came from segregationists, not the civil rights movement. The key to breaking the power of Jim Crow was to break its monopoly control over street protests and media images. As harsh as this may sound, I am coming to wonder if it is necessary to promote street demonstrations and campus protests -- if only to support the people of Denmark -- to tell the defeatists their bully tactics won't work. We've got to "take back the night" away from the Noam Chomskys of the world!

Bill said...

Your "interesting discussion" was a parallel to mine on the plane this Monday. I sat next to a liberal, originally French, currently ?, young man. He was both Muslim and Jewish--legitimately so. We also had an interesting discussion and I found him interesting to talk to.

I also learned that liberals have many unquestioned assumptions. Perhaps using the idea that one picks the battles one can win, we ended up discussing the Guantanimo detainees to some length. What he did not realize was that they fit the POW model, not the criminal model of justice. It gave him considerable pause, and changed the topic once he saw it.

Don't give up hope on all liberals, just the moonbats. Many are really are good people, just simply deluded.

Profitsbeard said...

"Communism will always fail because it believes people are naturally 'good'; Capitalism will always succeed because it knows they are not."

Islam is another of those belief systems that regiment the human soul into one 'perfect' pose [theory] for eternity.

Islam will fail because of its anti-natural, anti-developmental 'philosophy' of [ontological] paralysis, as Communism failed because of its Rousseau-ian fantasy of a being who had no ties with the brute evolution of Life. A Man "born free, but everywhere in chains", -when we are actually born chained to cellular realities and animal fact from our first genetic division.

The truths of our [DNA/id-ego-superego] natures have to be examined, not theorized [paved] over.

Islam's main hypothesis denies all further chance at understanding our potentially-infinite humanity, having pre-formulated our 'true being' as a withered, slavish serf to a violent Cosmic Dictator.

The human spirit never tolerates such crippling bonds for long.

Our very biology repels Islam when it is healthy.

The antidote to Mohammadism is freer inquiry, richer creativity, a greater Scientific enterprise, and the micro-meso & macro-exploration of the Universe.

To add a little more Lao "Tao" Tzu to this mix:

" The usefulness of the vessel lies in its emptiness."

Islam, on the contrary, is full of it.

ScottSA said...

massachussets republican said: "It is as if a sick Buddhist refused medicine because it would harm the infection."

I love it!

Anonymous said...

Last week I wrote about Islam, especially radical Islam, (...) (My emphasis.)

Here we go again (hopefully, I will get a response this time)... What is the point of differentiating between "Islam" and "radical Islam", thus giving the false impression that there exist versions of Islam that are not radical, and therefore obscuring the fact that it is Islam per se that is the problem, and not just one or more supposed variants of Islam?

Considering the purpose of this site (or, should I say, what I thought the purpose of this site was), this practice seems counter-productive, as it is, in effect, Islam apologism.

I wonder how long will it take for this Islam apologism to show up in the header of the pages of this blog, so that it will say "At the siege of Vienna in 1683 radical Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe. We are in a new phase of a very old war"...

David S. said...

First I would like to say that while anon. is being quite harsh, I would have to agree with him/her. The average muslim DOES want us subjugated to dhimmitude and to overrun the world - he is just not ambitious enough to do it. The 'variation' of Islam, the exception to the norm, is the muslim who accepts the essentially masonic revolutionary ideals of freedom, tolerance, and secular government. Amongst the vast majority, the more ambitious muslims want to kill us, while the average muslim just wants us dead.

Secondly, I found a website that links to some great documentary videos by Milton Friedman on the virtues of Capitalism over Socialism. They are a bit old (1990), but pretty well done:

I don't entirely agree with Friedman in that I do believe in a need for some governmental interference in the economy (though it should be kept to a minimum level which still follows the standards of moral society), but I found them quite interesting. Enjoy.

Baron Bodissey said...

Anonymous, your persistence is becoming annoying. I shall have to dedicate an entire post to a response.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, your persistence is becoming annoying.

My persistence is a result of the fact that you haven't provided an answer so far.

I shall have to dedicate an entire post to a response.

I'm looking forward to it.

snowonpine said...

I have to agree that unless someone can point out a banner on the field in this fight that says "moderate Muslims," planted in the middle of the innumerable "moderate Muslim" troops rallied around their standard, these ""moderate Muslims" are about as real as unicorns. The Koran and Hadiths clearly state that the religious obligation of a pious Muslim is to attack non-Muslims and either convert, kill or enslave them; those that cannot physically attack must support attackers by donating money and they do. Most Muslims have not acted on these imperatives but, nonetheless, they are there and as potent as ever. Infidels are by definition destined to burn in fire forever because they are intrinsically unclean and deluded. The Koran is also believed to be the perfect, immutable word of Allah. The ultimate objective is the triumph of Islam and Shari'a law over all the world and its peoples.

Right now Islamic terrorists, the point men of Islam, are attacking both infidels and other muslims who are less "orthodox" than they. However, I see no strong reaction from these less orthodox Muslims on behalf of themselves and certainly not on behalf of infidels. The vast majority of Muslims, it seems, are content to watch and give tacit, sometimes not so tacit, support to the point men; funding, cover, supplies, transportation and, above all, silence.

Unless there is a "moderate Muslim" groundswell of opposition to the jihadis, i.e. proposal of concrete and substantial reform of the Koran, an actual opposition movement with leaders and funding and forces, I think we have to assume that the vast majority of Muslims are just waiting on the sidelines of the field to see who wins. If the Muslim team wins the moderates, I am sure, will regret our passing for a little while, but this would not stop them from moving in to take all the lands, treasure and people of the West that the Koran defines as legitimate "war booty."

I don't see "moderate Muslims" siding with infidels against their fellow Muslims, whatever their internal differences might be. So, as things stand right now ,I can see no effective difference between Islam in general and the jihadis.

Profitsbeard said...

Baron B.-

As a popular Muslim apostate has put it:

"There are 'moderate Muslims', but there is no 'moderate Islam'."

(Mainly because most people are more decent, naturally, than the intolerant, menticidal/homicidal tenets of the pedophile "prophet"'s Koran.)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
K. Pablo said...

My only quibble is with your use of the word "antigen". An antigen is the molecule on the surface of the cell or organism which allows the immune system to determine whether that cell or organism is "self or not self".

Baron Bodissey said...

K. Pablo --

Your point is well-taken. I should have used "antibody", but I got tired of using the same word over and over. My bad.